I read B Miller’s letter (Times, January 7) and I would like to respond to some of the points made.

Braintree District Council is continuing to play a full role with Essex County Council in supporting the pandemic response with all Government agencies.

The roll-out of the vaccine is the responsibility of the Government and the NHS, not local councils. We are pushing hard for the details of vaccination centres to hopefully enable a swift roll out.

The council also continues to dispatch effectively, swiftly and with due diligence, financial support grants from Government to businesses. We have also funded our own support, including: issuing grants to aspiring young entrepreneurs and grants to support businesses to trade online.

We make no apology for working to protect and support our local economy and communities.

Our investment approach, criticised by B Miller, is mostly about ensuring ‘double value’ to us as taxpayers, by investing capital in initiatives that bring social benefit to our wider area, while generating revenues to pay for frontline services.

Town centres are changing from retail to places where we live, use services, but also spend time and socialise and we are committed to improvements in all three towns to support post-pandemic recovery.

Investing in and developing modern employment land at Horizon 120 has been met with great interest from companies wishing to relocate.

Attracting new companies to the area and providing space for existing firms to grow, will protect and create new local jobs in exciting sectors with great long-term prospects for residents.

Ways of working will change, but not every job can and will be done from home.

In these painful times, we are all concerned about the continuing social and health impacts of this pandemic, which will only be made worse if our local economic recovery is stifled.

We were working to help grow our local economy, long before Covid-19 and if we had not intervened, who would have?

This is not about being ideological visionaries, but doing what is right for this great area so we can all bounce back better.

Councillor Tom Cunningham

Deputy Leader of Braintree District Council